I'm gonna go ahead and start with this: it's not me, it's you.
While I thoroughly enjoy cancelling all my plans to ensure I'm sat on my sofa every evening by 8:55pm (without fail, may I add) and following the hashtag religiously throughout the ad breaks, there isn't a whole lot of positivity filling my screen this year.
In previous years I've found myself smiling at the screen (judge as you might) because each series was full of couples who were actually into each other — looking right at ya, Olivia Buckland and Alex Bowen. This year, it seems more contestants are concerned about their potential teeth whitening sponsorship deals and Instagram followers once the show comes to an end, rather than finding love.
Don't get me wrong, I realise people haven't just signed up in the quest for true love. After the success of the show in the past couple of years, they'd be lying if they said they weren't in it for a bit of extra cash and publicity. But that should be the bonus — the main objective is in the name.
Let's be honest: this series has been very problematic in more ways than one. Let's just rewind back to the time poor little Dani Dyer had her entire heart and soul crushed because of that Jack video. Did they need it to help better their relationship? Nope. Did we really need to view that cute-as-a-button contestant crying her heart out in the Beach Hut? No. Did it cause unnecessary emotional hurt? Um, yes!
Granted, that was the producers' decision, but let us not forget (and I mean, how could we?!) that time Adam gaslighted the hell out of Rosie and smirked in her face while she literally laid all her feelings out on the breakfast bar. Where is the love, people?
Not to mention the boys that reckon they can "do better" than the person they are currently coupled up with and feel the need to "take risks," leaving the girls looking "mugged off" and quite frankly providing them with a swift punch to the heart. I'm fully aware we're watching a show that encourages contestants to find "the one," and in order to do so you have to kiss a few frogs — but hell. As Rosie quite adequately put to Adam, "you'll never be happy if you're always looking for more." This is Love Island, not Do Better Island.
And while we're at it, where is the Chris and Kem-esque friendship? Where are the strong bonds? We've got the word loyalty being thrown around like there is no tomorrow, but we're yet to see a proper glimpse, unless it's keeping someone company on the sofa when they refuse to share a bed with another Islander.
Can we not get a little more compassion in the villa? Laura got her feelings hurt for the ten thousandth time this series, and not only did the other contestants watch it happen like some sort of twisted entertainment, they then sat in silence as she walked past. Not cool.
— Love Island (@LoveIsland) July 17, 2018
We're not being shown all the footage, I get that. Situations are manipulated, I get that too. But this year's lack in positive relationships is sure to have an effect on the viewers. What if we're subconsciously picking up these traits? Is this what entertainment is now? Would we rather watch people back-stab one another and cry, instead of looking at each other with heart eyes and going on to get married, have babies, and live happily ever after?
Drama makes good TV, but there is a line, and previous years got the balance so right. All I'm asking for is a little more happiness, a bit more laughter (Wes doing a Yorkshire accent cannot be the only lol-worthy highlight of 2018), and to be shown a few more genuine, happy moments.
Question is, will I still be watching tonight? Yes. Yes is the answer.